The Sea Wolves: Black and White Dinner Jackets

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Sea-Wolves-White-Dinner-Jacket

Roger Moore’s sartorial highlight in The Sea Wolves is a pair of dinner jackets, in black and white. Both have the authentic 1940’s cut the film requires: a full chest and slightly wider shoulders with roped sleeve heads. The white dinner jacket—likely made of linen—is a four-button double-breasted cut with one to button. The lower button row is placed up at the waist, meaning it’s cut more like the traditional six-button double-breasted style but missing the bottom row. It’s a style rarely seen after the 1940s. The peaked lapels are wide with a good amount of belly, typical of the 1940s style. The buttons are white mother of pearl.

Sea-Wolves-White-Dinner-Jacket-2

The black dinner jacket is a classic button one, peaked lapel style. The satin lapels, however, are not as wide as the white dinner jacket’s lapels. They still have belly, but the width is evenly balanced to appear neither too wide nor too narrow. And that would make this dinner jacket look timeless if it wasn’t for the wider shoulders. The buttons are either black horn or plastic. Both dinner jackets are detailed as a most traditional dinner jacket should be, with jetted pockets and without vents. Both also have three buttons on the cuffs.

Sea-Wolves-Black-Dinner-Jacket

Apart from the jacket, the rest of the two outfits is identical. The black trousers are cut with a wide, straight leg and have a black satin stripe down each leg. It’s difficult to make out the front of the trousers, but they may have double forward pleats. The white dress shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs, pleated bib and covered-button placket. The black satin silk bow tie is a classic butterfly shape. With the black dinner jacket, Moore wears a puffed white handkerchief in his breast pocket, which he later uses to wipe blood dripping down his arm. He also wears a black cummerbund with the black dinner jacket, and it may be hidden underneath the white dinner jacket as well. None of the clothes here appear to be made by any of Moore’s usual clothiers.

Sea-Wolves-Dress-Shirt

15 COMMENTS

  1. Your right, Matt, these outfits look to be Moore’s sartorial highlights in this movie. The shirts definitely don’t seem to be Foster’s work. The jackets though, from the shoulder shape seem a little reminiscent of Hayward even though the rest of the jacket’s construction is different from what we’re used to seeing from him. What do you think?

  2. Pretty good. Roger looks terrific and pulls it off well. Not a fan of the 1940s cut on the white jacket, but the black one is terrific, despite the wider shoulders. Perhaps the movie had a more limited budget that didn’t permit the use of Hayward, et al. And a costumer is probably just as well for a period film.

    On another note, I just odn’t think Roger looks that good in a white dinner jacket. Specifically, his complexion doesn’t seem to go with the white. I am not sure many can pull off that vast expanse of white, but Connery did. Dalton probably could (missed opportunity in L2K). Craig, not so much.

    • A tailor like Hayward would not have been a good choice for a period film anyway. Hayward’s cut and style would look out of place in this film. Just because he’s a bespoke tailor, it doesn’t mean he’s trained in cutting a 1940’s style suit. Because this dinner jacket is off white, I think it looks really good on him. It’s better than the straight white from The Man with the Golden Gun.

      • The white jacket in TMWTGG looks good thanks to the transition made by the unconventional but excellent choice of a cream shirt as you mentioned in your post on the subject. It makes a smooth transition. What surprised me in ‘the SeaWolves’ was the size of the bow tie, “butterfly tie” as we call it in French (noeud papillon) : “unusually small for a Nymphalis Polichloris”, it seems small compared to lapel size. Is it 40s standard or was it because we were used to the size of bow ties of 70s Roger Moore’s 007? Or was it that the costumiers wanted Roger Moore not to look too Bondian in the definitive 007 outfit (hence the lapels ,the tie, the puffed pocket square…) ?

      • To follow up Christian’s comment, I think Craig would also look good in an off-white jacket as opposed to a straight white. It’s a look that I would very much like to see return to the series.

      • I agree that I would like to see a return, but in all seriousness, does anyone besides cruise ship attendees, college frat boys, and high school prom goers wear a white dinner jacket anymore? I ask that in all seriousness – I like the look but I don’t see it at all.

      • Well, I agree it’s classic style that’s currently out of fashion. Although, I didn’t see many people wearing tab collars prior to last year either…

      • Christian,

        I fail to see why one should refrain from wearing a classically handsome style like the ivory dinner jacket just because fashionistas currently eschew it; right now most fashionistas look like undertakers and/or waiters – cruise ship attendees and frat boys may actually look better than they do!

  3. They are nice dinner jackets. The double-breasted one is, I think, particularly nice and as far removed from the current ultra-narrow styles as you could imagine.

    Given the care that has been taken over the jackets, however, I’m surprised by the shirts, which don’t look right to me. Did anyone wear covered placket fronts on their dress shirts in the 40s? Surely fly-fronts didn’t come in until the 60s? Studs or mother-of-pearl buttons would have been the order of the day. I can’t help feeling that at least one of the men also at the function ought really to be wearing a stiff fronted and wing collared shirt too, for a properly 40s look.

  4. Excellent point about the kind of shirts used. I don’t mind the soft turndown collar, since it’s the 40s, but shirts with pleated fronts and fly fronts seem to have appear in the mid 60s. I think a marcella front -stiff or not- with one, two or three studs would have been more appropriate to the era. What do you think about it, Matt ?

    Otherwise I am rather disappointed with the white dinner jacket. I don’t think the 40s features flatter Moore at all. It’s a shame since the jacket is so well cut, but I think the draped chest makes him look very heavy. And the trousers have such a high rise -although ordinary I find every rise too low!- that it makes Moore larger and heavier, as he had a square-shaped chest. I think a clean chest would look much better on him.

    • I don’t know about the fly front, but pleated fronts were definitely around in the 1940s.

      He’s wearing a cummerbund, so the trousers aren’t as high as you think. But the way the trousers look without the jacket is irrelevant since the jacket will always be on in public.

  5. Agree strongly with favourable comments on these fine examples of evening attire of the ’40’s. Ian Fleming would have appeared in very similar outfits when he served his country on covert missions, and he had some success at getting foreign officials to ignore him, as they took him for a playboy who just haunted nightclubs and casinos.

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